Computer love

I can only guess, but my hunch is that you’ve been looking at your phone or computer a bit more than usual in the last few months. Hard to imagine a time when these things were not part of our household or personal belongings. And probably hard to imagine that computers were rather mysterious or even scary when they first appeared in offices. So here’s a little tribute from my collection:

“If you are interested in computers, their function and operation, but are discouraged by their complexity, you should read this book. It deals as simply as possible with the principles and does not delve to deeply into the electronics.”

Intro to this – 1971 – edition

For its time this was a terrific book: clear, concise and enjoyable. There is a rumour that in the mid-70’s the UK Ministry of Defence ordered 500 copies of this book to educate senior staff – read more about that on Laydbirdflyawayhome

Love the font!

More great images from the book:

That was 1971 … A newer edition was published by Ladybird in 1979 – with a different cover. Alas, I don’t have a copy. However, I have a 1984 Pop-Up Book (you know I do love those). Published by Abbeville Press, written by Sharon Gallagher, and fantastic pop-ups created by Ron van der Meer who is considered one of the world’s foremost paper engineers.

Not the most enticing cover…


It reveals some nifty ‘engineering’. For example, pull down a tab that depresses a key on a keyboard and see the binary. See how floppy disks (anybody remembers those?), circuit boards, cathode ray tubes, and dot matrix printers worked. All reminiscent of some of my favourite TV/Film computers-scenes. Too many (as usual) to mention and as this post is about ‘Retro’, HAL from ‘A Space Odyssey’ doesn’t get a picture..

still from Star Trek - image of computer and hand

wonderful Star-Trek

or this still from ‘Mad Men’.

film still from Jumping Jack Flash - Whoopi Goldberg in front of computer

or Whoopi Goldberg (and computers) in ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ (1986)

But back to the book:
More 3-D: a floppy disk player, the keyboard, a lightbulb moment, and finally, a loving ‘Goodbye’.

And I leave you with another fond memory (1981) – which is still brilliant today:


  1. Brilliant 🙂 I absolutely adored my Ladybird books as a kid, and had quite a collection in the end. Still have a couple that survived all my various moves. Love the images in this computer one. As for floppy discs… omgosh, I remember saving some of my early writing work on those when I had a Brother word processor before laptops became available. It was a good machine before it became defunct.

  2. Well, I learned something there….maybe a ‘bit’ or a byte’ ….and maybe I even want to find out more about how computers work…. they have always been ‘magic boxes’ to me….

    Also love the pop-ups and Kraftwerk of course

    Thank you, Wibi !

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